A tripartite meeting with Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had been anticipated on the first anniversary of the ceasefire declaration, on November 9, 2021. That meeting was supposed to mark the culmination of the respective countries’ deputy prime ministers’ work over the last year.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan were to sign an agreement about the unblocking of roads and lines of communication in the Caucasus.
However, that meeting was postponed indefinitely because of Azerbaijan’s renewed aggression against Armenia. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Overchuk had announced that all roads and communication lines that would be unblocked would operate under the sovereignty of their respective countries. This declaration was supposed to be the culmination of the deputy prime ministers’ work and yearlong negotiations, which implied also the consent of the Azerbaijani side.
However, Azerbaijan’s aggression and Aliyev’s and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s repeated insistence on the Zangezur Corridor at the conference of the Organization of Turkic States meeting in Istanbul earlier this month shattered those hopes and made it abundantly clear that Moscow and Yerevan were operating only under the illusion that they had an agreement at hand.
After dashing all hopes for a timely settlement in the region, the situation has become unexpectedly volatile. This precariousness led to an announcement by the office of Charles Michel, the president of the European Union, that Pashinyan and Aliyev had agreed to meet on December 15, on the sidelines of the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. A spokesman for Mr. Michel stated, “The goal is to bring Pashinyan and Aliyev to the same table for confidence-building measures.”
The news about Pashinyan’s trip to Brussels, compounded by an earlier commitment by Armenia’s premier to participate in President Joe Biden’s conference on democracy December 9-10, triggered the pro-Kremlin news media in Yerevan and Moscow to accuse Armenia’s foreign policy of shifting toward the West.